Guest post – Sandra Bush, NCT Antenatal Teacher
My name is Sandra Bush and I am a Natal Hypnotherapy™ practitioner and NCT Antenatal Teacher. I have been helping prepare women and their partners for birth and parenthood in the Wimbledon and Wandsworth area for over 20 years.
My husband and I have two sons, Tom and David, the eldest of whom was born 23 years ago and was my way into the NCT.
I booked an antenatal course and duly turned up, not knowing what to expect. In fact that just about summed up my attitude to pregnancy and birth way back then – I hadn’t really done any research at all.
Tom’s birth was incredibly straightforward and the classes, with their huge focus on breathing and relaxation, certainly helped. The student doctor who ‘caught him’ was seen three days later serving behind the counter of our local chippie (!) as I had returned from hospital to an empty fridge.
Tip no. 1- fill your freezer – another example of lack of planning.
Breastfeeding however was a completely different matter and at just three weeks old our baby was back in hospital with me, whilst the doctors carried out a battery of tests to see why he was so underweight. A few anxious days followed; poor feeding was diagnosed and we were sent home with instructions to top up his feeds with formula. By two months breastfeeding had stopped and although tongue-tie had been diagnosed no-one was prepared to snip the membrane holding the tongue down, as at the time there was no agreement that it affected breastfeeding, despite my lovely NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor providing evidence of research articles to the contrary.
Tip no. 2 – do get the midwife to double-check if there are problems with feeding as it is not always obvious.
Tongue-tie affects about 10% of all babies and half may find feeding difficult as a result. These days the trauma we experienced is far less common as it is something midwives check for at birth and snipping the membrane that holds the tongue down is something that can easily be arranged by a GP, referring on to a Pediatrician. Lactation Consultants and specially trained midwives are also able to carry out the procedure. It is quick and babies usually feed straight away. See Kate Carter’s article for more on tongue tie.
So what did the NCT do for me that was so amazing? I was counselled out of continuing to struggle with breastfeeding, a step that was unbearably difficult to take but one that made all the difference. A short while after, reflecting that this was not really the advice I expected to be given by an NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor, someone so passionate about breastfeeding, that I felt I should give something back so investigated training to teach antenatal classes.
Becoming an NCT Antenatal teacher drew me into the fascinating world of birth and parenting. Our sons grew up surrounded by birthing pictures, charts and pieces of equipment so hopefully when it comes to their turn they will be fully prepared. How many 8-year-old boys can describe the benefits of upright, forward, open positions during birth!?
Our eldest son Tom was in fact nearly eight years old when his baby brother David was born, as he was with us in hospital where I had gone to be induced, a day and a half after my waters had broken. The planned home-birth went out of the window but no matter as I could have been anywhere and despite being hooked up to a monitor and on a drip for the duration, in my mind I was far away and just focused on breathing, moving around and staying upright throughout. I remember being aware of an incredibly intense sensation then hearing a little voice shout “It’s a boy”, as Tom watched his baby brother being born. I came to at that point, looked down and saw our new baby son, and just knew it was probably the most fulfilling thing I would ever achieve, bringing this new life into the world with all my family around me.
So, to bring myself back to this article I just want to finish with a few words about my latest venture. For many years I have taught women in my NCT classes who have used Natal Hypnotherapy CDs and have been convinced that their birth experiences have been so much better than they could have expected as a result. Sometime last year a group of four, an entire class, all used the techniques and ALL had quick, straightforward births.
When the opportunity came up to train with Natal Hypnotherapy to run workshops I decided it really was time to get involved. Working with Maggie Howell was just fantastic and we learnt how hypnosis can change perceptions and reframe beliefs, inducing a sense of calm and relaxation rather than panic and fear. Those of us from a similar background to mine found ourselves unlearning a lot of what we already knew, stripping birth back to basics. I am now delighted to be offering Natal Hypnotherapy workshops in a studio in Wimbledon at Gooseberry Bush, a fantastic family-friendly cafe that is also home to a number of therapists offering a variety of treatments and classes such as massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy, Baby Massage, Pilates, NCT Antenatal classes and NCT Relax, Stretch and Breathe, to name but a few.
Check out my website: www.birthconfidence.com
NCT Breastfeeding helpline: 0300 330 0771 (7 days a week, 8am-10pm)
pop over to say hello to Sandra on twitter @SandraLBush